Hundreds of PETA members and other concerned citizens gathered outside the Michael Vick hearing in Richmond today to ask that the court send a message to any dogfighters that this horrific blood sport will not be tolerated, and that its practitioners will be penalized to the fullest extent of the law. The latest news is that Michael Vick has been sentenced to 23 months in prison, which is almost twice the amount initially recommended by prosecutors. We’re still waiting to hear for certain whether he has received a ban on contact with animals, which is an essential provision in any cruelty case, given the high likelihood of repeat offenses where animal abuse is concerned.
Vick will be facing state charges following his federal sentencing, and we’re calling on State Prosecutor Gerald Poindexter to consider this case with the same seriousness that has been applied to his federal sentencing—i.e., to make sure this admitted animal torturer is made to answer in full for the crimes he has committed. I’ll post updates with any breaking news as this case develops, but in the meantime, you can write to Mr. Poindexter through this page to remind him that vigorous prosecution is essential in cruelty cases like this one in order to prevent repeat offenses and to deter others from committing similar crimes.
Given the high-profile nature of this case, the statement made today and at the state proceeding will have a far-reaching effect on prosecution of dogfighters for years to come, and we need to ensure that Mr. Poindexter follows in the footsteps of the federal authorities and demonstrates for the countless people following this case that Virginia will not tolerate cruelty to animals.